Tuesday, September 9, 2014

A Day at the County Fair

Macky & The Queen in The Fun House
Now that things have seemingly calmed down around here, I decided it was time to take the kids out for an adventure. The annual county fair was in town and, regrettably, our children have never been to a fair. But we are still very tight on money from the fire. Living paycheck to paycheck continues to be status quo for now. Nevertheless, I took this opportunity to teach the kids yet another lesson: how to come up with money when you really want to do something.

We sat down and wrote ideas on how to raise the $60 we would need to get into the fair. Sell homemade soap, garage sales and mowing lawns were offered up...among other things. Since time was of the essence, I chose to sell some of our meager silver savings. Around 11pm on Friday night, I posted an advertisement on CraigsList offering my silver Walking Liberties at spot prices. I stated in the ad that I was looking to raise funds to take my kids to the fair. I had a response by 7am the next morning.

Walking Liberties and Buffaloes we sold.
I met a nice seasoned couple around 10am in the Sizzler parking lot and sold them $200 worth of coins. Good thing I brought some extras. They were as gracious as I was and we both went on our way. This was enough for admission to the fair and a few things that I felt every child (and teenager!) should experience at a fair...all six girls had a terrific time enjoying the following hallmarks of a good fair while Wifey and I sat back and watched:


  • got lost in the House of Mirrors

  • laughed their way through a Fun House

  • screamed their way through the House of Horrors

  • slobbered over deep fried Oreos and butter cups

  • learned that money can be earned by raising 4H animals
  • practice the art of making a fly fishing lure

Yes honey, it IS harder than it looks.
We were guided through several buildings of 4H animals by a young man we knew from church. He had a large hog that sold for $1400. He was able to share with the girls a lot of the details of what goes into purchasing and raising each type of animal.  You could see their amazement when he shared that he spent a total of around $600 for his hog which led to an equal $800 profit. He explained to the girls how he was going to divide up his profit:

  • some goes to buy the next animal for the next 4H competition
  • some goes to his college fund (he's in 8th grade now)
  • and some goes to his church mission fund

He was allowing himself just a little for splurge spending. What a terrific lesson for my girls!

Flower learns Fly Tying!
They saw a good 30+ breeds of chickens, llamas, turkeys, bulls, pigs, goats and sheep. I'm sure I'm forgetting some animals. We missed the day of the actual auctions but I explained to my girls how it all worked. I recanted how my mom and I used to make desserts and enter them in the State Fair of Oklahoma when I was a child. I think we won one time with our coconut log rolls.

It was a beautiful, sunny day and I can guarantee they'll never forget their first trip to the fair. I used to get the silver coins out on occasion and let them play with the shiny trinkets as they clanked around on the floor. I was attempting to teach them about savings. The coins taught me a much bigger lesson this time...it's wise to save for the future but it is equally wise to enjoy the limited time you have with your children in a way you won't soon forget.



  1. That was a wonderful outing for you and the girls. Did you wife go, too?

    1. yes she did. It was a great time had by all.

  2. Great hearing things are going good for you and the family.
    Keep the faith....

    1. Well, at this point, we're thankful for every "no drama" day.

  3. Sounds like a great, fun day for your family! Good memories for sure.

  4. I agree that raising animals, even under the umbrella of 4H, is great for kids. But please understand that the prices paid for those animals at fairs are in no way realistic in comparison to what "regular" farmers can get for their livestock. Part of raising a show market animal is asking people friendly to the competitor to come to the auction at the end of the show and bid on the animals. The winners are usually bought by some large local entity (grocery store, livestock supplier) and always at greatly inflated prices. This is great for the competitor, suppling that money your church friend counts on. But it does not reflect the market realities of the world outside competition.

    The best thing about being a competitor though might be staying on the fairgrounds for days instead of hours -- gives an entire different perspective. :)

    1. we are aware of the inflated prices. And I've already marketed the idea of becoming a purchaser to the doctors at my hospital. :-)


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